Microsoft’s Windows File Explorer has existed in the operating system since Windows 95, and it has served as a focal point for design concepts ever since. I’ve seen a variety of mockups over the years that try to redesign the File Explorer and modernize it, but Reddit user Alur2020 has really nailed what modern file management should look like in Windows 10. This is the best Windows File Explorer concept I’ve ever seen.
The concept, spotted by Neowin, is immediately striking for its sheer simplicity and usability. The default home area imagines a location where you can quickly see pinned items, drives, and recently used files. It’s a simple location to find anything important. Alur2020 has also incorporated Microsoft’s new Windows 10 system icons, and even color coded groups for files and folders much like macOS’ Finder.
Aside from the pure design, this concept also imagines what tabs might look like in a modern File Explorer. It looks very similar to Microsoft Edge browser tabs, allowing File Explorer users to open up multiple folders in a single view. Microsoft was working on its own Sets feature for Windows 10 that included tabs in File Explorer, but the company put this work on hold a couple of years ago. It’s not clear whether File Explorer will ever officially get tabs support in the future.
This concept File Explorer also offers up a cleaner way to deal with images in folders, with a minimalist ribbon of options. There’s even nested folders on the side panel, allowing Windows users to quickly switch between folders that are buried deep in multiple folder structures. The breadcrumb bar has worked well for navigation at the top of the File Explorer for years, but this nested folders option offers even more ways to navigate around.
Alur2020’s concept has proved popular over on Reddit, with hundreds of comments praising the design, thousands of upvotes, and a number of Reddit awards. The concept comes just weeks after Microsoft unveiled new File Explorer icons as part of a larger visual overhaul for Windows 10.
Microsoft has also created new system icons for Windows 10 this year, as part of a planned “sweeping visual rejuvenation of Windows,” codenamed “Sun Valley.” The company is expected to detail its Windows UI plans and more about the future of the OS in the coming months as part of a dedicated news event.